MEXICO CITY Feb 5 Spanish phone company
Telefonica is in talks to buy Mexico's third-largest
cellphone company, Iusacell, according to media reports on
Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg and
Spanish newspaper El Economista reported that Telefonica was in
talks with Grupo Televisa and Grupo Salinas, which
The Spanish company is being advised by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya
Argentaria and Lazard, one of the sources told Bloomberg.
Telefonica, Televisa and Grupo Salinas all declined to
comment on the reports.
An official at one of the companies said on condition of
anonymity that it would be odd for Telefonica to consider a deal
in the near-term given that many details of Mexico's new telecom
regulation have yet to be ironed out.
At an event on Tuesday, Telefonica's president in Mexico
Francisco Gil Diaz said the company "always has deals on the
Last month, Telefonica signed a roaming agreement with
Nextel in Brazil and Mexico. The company has also said
it plans to work with mobile virtual network operators in
Telefonica has about 20 percent of Mexico's cellphone
market, behind Carlos Slim's America Movil, which has
about 70 percent.
Mexico's new telecom regulator the Federal
Telecommunications Institute (IFT) is also responsible for
antitrust issues in the sector. Tasked with increasing
competition in Mexico's phone market, it is awaiting legislation
that will detail powers it will have to tackle Slim's dominance
in the sector and how it should act on matters of competition.
Constitutional reform changed Mexico's telecom rules last
year. Lawmakers are expected to announce details of the new
rules this month.